The UFC will be running another card from its new favourite territory, Brazil on Saturday, November 9. And this time, The Fight Predictor can actually predict a decent number of fights on the card! The fights will be live from the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil (its refreshing they haven’t yet branded everything possible like in North America). The fights will be televised on Fox Sports 1 with the prelims live on Facebook and Youtube. Our model is able to predict 5 of the 11 bouts that will take place on the card.
The main event from Goiania will feature Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort doing battle in the light heavyweight division. It is surprising the UFC has so quickly jumped on the Alexander Gustafsson vs Jon Jones rematch bandwagon as the winner of this fight should be considered a top contender. Belfort has quietly disposed of his last 2 adversaries in the middleweight division, top contenders Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold and with Silva getting a rematch against Weidman, he is likely looking to remain next in line (even though this fight takes place a weight class higher). Dan Henderson is looking to earn the long elusive title shot which seems to elude him every time he gets close to the top. Henderson actually enters the fight on a 2 fight skid with (questionable) decision losses to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans. Our model has Belfort winning 72% of the time, but at 1.5 to 1, we are not confident enough to lay down the juice. In addition, Belfort has suffered a few TKO losses in his career and there is a possibility of Dan Henderson’s big right hand finding a home. The under 2.5 rounds currently sits at 1.67 to 1 which is probably about right and not paying off well enough to convince us to lay down the dough either.
Also in the light heavyweight division, Rafael Cavalcante will take on Igor Pokrajac. Our model has Cavalcante as the runaway favourite in this one and for good reason. Pokrajac has lost 3 straight (yes, the Beltran loss counts as a bet on him would have lost on fight night), and while he did look strong prior to those losses with TKO victories over Soszynski and Todd Brown, we don’t see anything magical happening on Saturday night. Cavalcante is a scary dude with all 11 of his career victories coming by way of TKO or KO (the Mike Kyle fight which was later overturned which Cavalcante won by submission would be the lone outlier). Of his 4 career losses, 3 have come by way of TKO. Expect this fight to end in spectacular fashion early on. We placed a 2 unit bet on the under 1.5 rounds at 1.77 to 1.
Our third prediction of the night is that Rony Jason (Bezerra?) will defeat Jeremy Stephens. Like our first two predictions, Jason is a decently heavy favourite and not someone we want to lay down less that 1.5 to 1 on. The fight pits a guy on his way up in Jason vs a guy on his way down in Stephens. Sure, Stephens is the younger guy, but the battles he has already been in at the age of 27 will cause him to fade over the next few years (if you don’t think he has already). Stephens is just 1-3 in his last 4 and could even be a candidate to be cut with a couple more losses. Jason has been on fire since joining the UFC with 3 straight wins over middle of the road competition (at best). We expect he will continue his winning ways, but as stated above, we are not willing to lay down 1.5 to 1. The over/under rounds does not have much value either so we will abstain from placing a bet on this fight.
Our second bet of the night will be based on our model’s pick of Godofredo Pepey to defeat Sam Sicilia. The math has Castro as a pretty big favourite with an expected win rate of 75%. With the odds sitting at pretty much even (1.95 a piece), there is definite value in placing this bet. Both guys are 1-2 so far in the UFC after posting impressive professional records prior to debuting in the big league (11-1 Sicilia, 8-0 Pepey). A couple stats that add to the evidence that Pepey will win are: Pepey absorbs 2.39 significant strikes per minute to Sicilia’s 4.26, they both stand 5’7″ tall, but Pepey has a 7″ reach advantage and finally, Pepey was able to outstrike Rony Bezerra (in significant strike volume anyway) and make it to a decision while Sicilia was TKO’d by Bezerra (common opponents aren’t a perfect science, but in this case it does make for some compelling evidence for Pepey). Based on the model and statistical evidence, we bet 3 units on Castro at 1.95 to 1.
In our final model pick of the night, we have Thiago Tavares to defeat Justin Salas. Unfortunately, Tavares is a decent favourite so there is limited value in betting on him to take the win. When the decision prop comes out, it may be worth a stab if the odds are favourable.
Under 1.5 rounds Cavalcante vs Pokrajac. 2 units at 1.77 to 1
Castro over Sicilia. 3 units at 1.95 to 1
Here are the best odds for UFC Fight Night 32: